Before I start this blog, I feel like I should give a short description of myself and my shortcomings. I’m an avid people-pleaser. I have difficulty submitting to authority. I’ve got quite the temper, especially when I’m hungry or tired. I’m a perfectionist and a procrastinator. I wrestle with pride, and I struggle with a severe lack of discipline. I am absolutely and completely human, and I’ve been feeling that truth heavily lately. As Red Hills has journeyed through 1 John, I’ve been reading through Genesis, and it’s been rather shocking to see how these two books coincide. Reading through Genesis, I was confronted with a pattern that sounded all too familiar:
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to believe that God did not know what was best.
Eve decided to take matters into her own hands and made decisions that fell outside of God’s will.
Adam and Eve felt shame for undercutting God’s authority and hid from Him.
Their shame caused further distance from God as they attempted to dress themselves and hide their sin.
Have you ever recognized this pattern in your own life? I certainly have.
My life has been transitioning very quickly lately. In a little over a year, I’ve gotten married, I’ve graduated, and I’ve made plans to move overseas, leaving everything familiar behind, for two whole years. Everything is one massive whirlwind, and every day I wake up asking God, “seriously, are you sure you know what’s going on?” I wish I could say I’ve clung to God’s Word in prayer and in faithfulness. I want to tell you that I’ve grown deeper and richer in my relationship with the Lord. Unfortunately, my life looks far too much like the pattern I just explained. I’m terrified. I look to my future and I see the one thing that scares me the most: the unknown. I am a planner, through and through. But when God wrote my book, he stamped “TRUST ME” in big red letters on every page, and I have wrestled with Him about that every step of the way.
When I was a child, I felt like God was going to call me into something huge. I just knew that God had created me for big things, and I wanted to be ready for whatever He threw my way. I imagined being this eloquent speaker or an incredible worship leader. I daydreamt about saving orphans then riding off on my trusty steed – because when I was eleven every daydream ended that way. The point is, I believed God would paint me this beautiful life and everything would be easy. And I’d be lying if I told you I don’t still expect that sometimes. An easy, cushy, beautiful, powerful life. But then Red Hills had to start a series on 1 John and crush all of that.
If the beginning of Genesis is about the introduction of sin into the lives of God’s people, 1 John is about the purging of it. Marshall walked us through all five books in 1 John and revealed that the life I dreamt of was going to require the one thing I wanted to hear least: work. Now hear me people, I am not saying works, but WORK. Before you go quoting Ephesians on me, let me explain:
God does not simply grant His children faith or wisdom or self-control without there being a desire or search for it, first. Faith, wisdom, self-control – those are all available to His children, most certainly. But that does not mean God just instantly gives it to us when we need it. I know this, because I’ve spent years asking God for a variety of spiritual gifts only to find myself lacking in the end. I’ve asked for faith, but I haven’t put in the time it takes to learn to trust God. I’ve asked for discernment, but I’ve refused to be disciplined enough to sit with my God and listen. I’ve begged for self-control, but I ignore the fact that there are still many areas of my life that God has not been allowed to cleanse and renew. So instead, I get angry at God for not doing things my way. I attempt to do things myself and I shove my Heavenly Father to the side while I steer. I crash and burn, but I refuse to let God or anyone else see. So, I pretend to be put-together until I finally just can’t take it anymore, and I start yelling at everyone. Then, I write a blog about it.
(I can’t make that font big or obnoxious enough to symbolize just how thankful I am), God is graceful and merciful beyond measure. God has given me a life that I do not deserve and called me into a field that I will probably never feel ready for. Despite myself and my evil, human heart, God has stuck with His original story and stayed true to His promise. And He will for you too. Whether you are living an early Genesis life or a 1 John life, God is more faithful than any of us deserve. If you find yourself in a place like mine, where you wake up every morning wondering why your temperamental tendencies haven’t just disappeared, ask yourself what kind of work you’ve been putting in. Ten times out of ten, it’s not God’s fault.
“Even to your old age, I am He, and to your gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.”